The iPhone's Lackluster 'Security'

The iPhone was the victim of three password hacks in 2010 alone. What's next?
Posted February 11, 2011

Chris Null

As the iPhone grows only more popular, users don't seem to care -- or even be aware -- that the handhelds aren't exactly Fort Knox. Mobile computing expert Chris Null discusses the problem.

Last October, a story made the rounds that raised more than a few eyebrows: If you had an iPhone running the latest version of the OS, you could tap “Emergency Call,” dial “###,” then hit the lock button. Boom: Your iPhone would zip straight to the home screen.

Though it took about a month, Apple eventually fixed the flaw, but the hack itself wasn’t all that alarming. Why? Because this wasn’t the first time the iPhone had been found to have a security flaw that let anyone who knew the secret bypass its sad security. Only a few months earlier the password lock had been broken – Just as it had been broken in January of the same year.

That’s three password hacks in 2010 – none requiring special software or any special knowledge not available through the most cursory of Google searches. Tens of millions of users were potentially impacted by the problem, and most of them probably never even knew it.

I’m an iPhone user and I’m fully aware that the only real value my four-digit password has is keeping my kids from playing “Plants vs. Zombies” when they’re supposed to be doing their homework. It just isn’t a serious security system, and it isn’t intended to be one.

Read the rest about Mobile security at eSecurityPlanet.

Tags: security, mobile, iPhone, iphone apps, password protection

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